Pirates get ready to wow the Kings Theatre audience

TAKING AIM Chris Fenn playing an arresting officer on board HMS Warrior. Pictures: Sarah Standing (13571-9398)
TAKING AIM Chris Fenn playing an arresting officer on board HMS Warrior. Pictures: Sarah Standing (13571-9398)
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THE lives of 17th century pirates are being brought to the stage by a group of adults with learning difficulties.

The Portsmouth Self Advocacy Group received support from The Heritage Lottery Fund for its new project, a play called Pieces of Eight.

MEET THE CAST Back from left, Di Peers, Nigel Robinson, 'Birdy' Ward, Jane Hill, Peter Fear, and Chris Fenn, with, front, Brynly Clarkson. (13571-431)

MEET THE CAST Back from left, Di Peers, Nigel Robinson, 'Birdy' Ward, Jane Hill, Peter Fear, and Chris Fenn, with, front, Brynly Clarkson. (13571-431)

For the project at the Kings Theatre, the group has been researching the facts about pirate life at sea and links with Portsmouth.

Now they will take their play to the Southsea theatre.

Nigel Robinson, lead volunteer for the group, said: ‘Putting on plays helps their confidence.

‘It helps them learn to speak out for themselves and it gives them an added confidence to be able to talk in groups and do new things.

‘They are a bit nervous to start with but they are excited about it. It challenges them in a way, especially those who have got to learn their lines.’

The play will take place at the Kings on Monday and Tuesday.

The results of the research into the project is being turned into an exhibition which will be displayed at the theatre for two weeks from Monday.

It will then travel to The National Museum of the Royal Navy, The Mary Rose Museum and local schools.

Sandra Smith, of the Kings Theatre, said: ‘It’s to develop them and give them something exciting to get their teeth into. They’ve been working on it for a while.

‘It’s a big part of their lives. They came in with full enthusiasm.

‘They’re excited about it particularly to be able to do this on the stage with such a professional and beautiful theatre. They’re putting in a big effort.

‘For them to perform in front of an audience is going to be fantastic and a big achievement.’

Portsmouth Self Advocacy Group was founded 11 years ago.

From its base at The Omega Centre, the group supports local people who have learning difficulties to improve their lives through friendship, knowledge and interesting activities.

To find out more about the Portsmouth Self Advocacy Group, visit portsmouthselfadvocacy.com.